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IMF mission meets Pakistan’s finance officials

IMF mission meets Pakistan’s finance officials

ISLAMABAD: An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Harald Finger visited Pakistan from December 5 to 14 for first Post Program Monitoring (PPM) since the end of Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in September 2016.

The Fund mission held detailed technical discussions with senior officials in the Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan, besides Ministries of Energy, Planning Development and Reforms, Commerce, Privatization, Railways, and Federal Board of Revenue, Board of Investment, NEPRA, OGRA and SECP.

The Mission also held consultative session with academia, think tanks and bankers. Pakistan team was led by Shahid Mahmood, Secretary Finance and Tariq Bajwa Governor State Bank of Pakistan.

Discussions largely focused on the recent economic developments and its outlook. Deliberations were also held on reform efforts undertaken by the government including fiscal, monetary, financial, energy policies and strengthening investment climate.

The Mission recognized that Pakistan growth momentum continues to be on a relatively high trajectory while inflation continues to remain low and stable, helped by supportive fiscal and monetary policies. Continued policy reforms are likely to contain external imbalances while supporting economic growth in the medium term.

The Mission also recognized notable improvements in Foreign Direct Investment, pickup in exports and recovery in workers’ remittances. Furthermore, it also focused on addressing some of the vulnerabilities emanating from the higher level of imports and pressure on country’s foreign exchange reserves. However, the Mission welcomed the new policy actions to address these concerns.

The government reiterated its commitment to stay on path of fiscal consolidation supported by increase in FBR revenues and prudent expenditure management.  The government also shared its commitment to continue with reform effort for public sector enterprises and protecting the vulnerable segments of the society.

The Mission was pleased to visit Pakistan after a gap of four years in improved secure environment. The Fund and Pakistan authorities will continue discussions during Article IV consultations tentatively scheduled for first half of 2018.